The special director appointed to review documents seized by federal agents at former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate appeared to cast doubt on Trump’s claim on Tuesday that he had declassified various top-secret and other highly sensitive documents found there.
Special guru Raymond J. Dearie, senior U.S. District Judge in New York, asked Trump’s lawyers for more information about federal agents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach. Of the more than 100 sensitive documents found at the a-Lago estate, which may have been declassified. Trump’s lawyers told the judge in a letter Monday night that they did not want to disclose the information yet because it could force them to prematurely “disclose the defense of the merits of any subsequent prosecution.”
During the hearing in federal court in Brooklyn, Dearie noted the case was a civil dispute, not a criminal one, but said he was taking the administration’s national security concerns seriously.
“Let’s not underestimate the fact that we are at least dealing with potentially legitimate classified information. The government, like all of us, has a very strong obligation to make sure that this information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands,” said Dearie, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court’s A former judge, President Ronald Reagan appointed him to the New York federal court. ”
While Trump’s filings claim that neither side has provided evidence that the documents are classified, Dirie said the administration has provided “prime evidence” that the documents are classified because they are classified.
“As far as I’m concerned, that’s the end,” Derie said, unless Trump’s team has some evidence to the contrary.
Trump has claimed on social media that he has declassified all the records he has, but his lawyers have not formally made that argument in any sworn court filings.
Trump attorney James Trusty insisted that “we shouldn’t have to disclose statements” and witness statements about the classification issue. Dearie suggested that they could not do so could cause problems for their case.
“My point is that you can’t eat cake at the same time,” Dearie said.
Justice Department attorney Julie Edelstein noted that some of the documents were “so sensitive that even members of the team that were investigating the possible crimes here did not have permission to view them.” She said that while Trusty has A top-secret license, but even that “was not sufficient to view some of the disputed documents in this case.”
Trusty called Edelstein’s argument “a bit shocking.” “It’s an amazing moment that even a lawyer can access the documents that make up the reason for their raid,” he said.
“It’s a need-to-know. If you need to know, you’ll know,” Derie told Trump’s lawyers. He also suggested he would try to avoid reviewing some of the most sensitive documents — and he would also block Trump Pu’s attorney saw the documents.
“I don’t want to see the material — it could be sensitive material,” he said, adding that if he could advise the judge who asked him to provide it, “without exposing myself or you to the material, I would will do it.”
“On the other hand, if I can’t, we have to take another option,” he said.
Dearie said he would issue a scheduling order later on Tuesday, noting that “there are 11,000 documents” in dispute and that “we have a short period” to review them for privilege issues.
Trusty urged Dilly not to act too quickly. He said Trump’s team “started from scratch” and would benefit from “having time to look at all the documents.”
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, a Florida judge nominated by Trump, this month granted the former president’s request to appoint a special director to review evidence and ordered the Justice Department to halt its review of retracted evidence while the review is pending. file for criminal investigation. Cannon said a damage assessment of the mishandling of documents could go ahead, but the Justice Department said a criminal investigation was a necessary part of the assessment and appealed her order.
In a court filing on Tuesday, Trump’s lawyers argued that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit should reject the administration’s request to uphold Cannon’s ruling, calling the investigation “unprecedented and misleading” and describing it as ” An escalated file storage dispute or control.”
Trump’s bid was supported by documents filed with an appeals court by a coalition of 11 Republican attorneys general. Suggest “looting” Those in the Trump family are politically motivated and believe Cannon’s order should remain as it is because of the “game skills” of the Biden administration. A majority supported a lawsuit challenging the 2020 election result, which was dismissed by the Supreme Court.
Tom Winter contributed.